Two Xsaras waiting to pounce. Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti returned to Kemer tonight in second position while Colin McRae and Derek Ringer lay seventh at the final service. Both crews now stand in an ideal position for tomorrow's second leg of...
Two Xsaras waiting to pounce.
Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti returned to Kemer tonight in second position while Colin McRae and Derek Ringer lay seventh at the final service.
Both crews now stand in an ideal position for tomorrow's second leg of the Rally of Turkey, which has been as difficult as expected so far.
Carlos Sainz perfectly profited from his start order of seventh on the road. He showed his satisfaction at the final service : "Being second tonight is great ! But we have to stay cautious because the toughest day is tomorrow. This rally is very complicated, the stages are difficult and the gap between the competitors is very small. We can't make any mistakes. Today we have proved that the Xsara has excellent potential on gravel. As we still have some development possibilities, I feel very optimistic for the rallies to come."
Starting second on the road, Colin McRae knew he would experience a difficult day. He had to sweep the loose gravel from the surface of the road for those following. "Considering the start order, our day went well, analysed the Scot. "I am a bit disappointed with our time on the last stage. It was the second pass through the stage and it was supposed to be clean. The feeling was good but the time was not great. We have a long day tomorrow and I am sure there will be some action. I still want to try to finish on the podium."
Sébastien Loeb has had an early exit from the event. The Championship leader had to retire before SS4. After the organisers shortened the rally route, the team calculated a reduction in fuel intake for the Xsara. The cars of Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae were given the same petrol quantity as Sébastien and both made it to the refuelling point.
Co-driver Daniel Elena made a mistake in reading the road book on the road section following SS3. The additional kilometers driven by the Xsara in this section would not have resulted in the crew being excluded.
It is the combination of these two problems which caused the retirement of the Monte Carlo winners.
An incident that Team Director Guy Fréquelin had to admit: "Mistakes happen in this sport. It's unfortunate for the crew and the team but we must look forward and not back. We still have a difficult but interesting match to play."
Telefónica Movistar, Michelin, Magneti-Marelli, OZ, AIS and Citroën Financement are the partners of Team Citroën-Total in the World Rally Championship.